that all happens starting next on c-span2's booktv. >> and now on booktv, jon ronson takes a look at public shaming in the internet age and the impact it's had on the lives of people who have been targeted. [inaudible conversations] >> hi, everyone. i'd like to welcome you to book court. thank you so much for coming. we're very excited to have jon ronson here with us tonight. he is a journalist, documentary filmmaker and best selling author of "the psychopath test," lost at sea them, and the men who stare at goats. his writing has appeared in many places including the guardian, new york times, "vanity fair,"
gq and others. he contributes regularly to this american life, and we are very excited to have him here to talk about his new book, "so you've been publicly shamed." without further ado, please join me in welcoming jon ronson. [applause] >> hi. thank you very much for coming. i thought i'd start by telling you the story of the worst thing that i ever did. [laughter] it's not in the book. it was too painful to put in the book. it was my wife's idea for us to go on like a special occasion to a country house hotel for a really nice meal. my wife always chooses the very worst things for special occasions. like one time she got me a surprise weekend at a spa even though she knows p i i don't like being touched. [laughter] and as i was being massaged, you know, kind of trying to make
polite conversation, and i said i can't remember anything about my childhood, and the masseur said most people who don't remember anything about their childhood, it turns out when they recover their lost memories, they were sexually abused. [laughter] i said well i'd remember that. [laughter] and i was having this dinner with my wife in this country house hotel. we were waiting for the soup to come, and i was shooting the waiter paranoid hungry glances and finally the soup came and i began to eat it ravenously. my wife said, jon see the girl on the next table? and i looked over, and there was a girl about 14 sitting with her parents, and elaine said, i just saw her mimic the way you ate your soup. [laughter] and i said really? she said yes, she did an impossessor mission for her parents -- am impersonation for
her parents of someone eating soup disgustingly and i know it was you and she did am impersonation of the girl doing an impersonation of me. in this sort of gargoyle hunchbacked -- and i said oh, so what she's only 14 or something. how did her parents respond? and elaine said, they smiled. and so i said, i'm going to the toilet. so i went to the toilet. and then when -- i should tell you, i am a grudge bearer. [laughter] quite recently i woke up in the middle of the night and realized i was the still angry with the boys who threw me into a lake in the summer of 1983. [laughter] so i went on to friends reunited and found one of them and e-mailed them i'm now a best selling author. [laughter] anyway, he mailed me pack and said the reason why they threw me in the lake was because i was a pain in the asss and the tenor
of my e-mail leads him to suspect i haven't changed -- [laughter] so that didn't turn out the way i hoped. so i was coming back from the toilet, and i saw the girl walking towards me on her way to to the toilet and it was just me and her alone in this grand hallway, and i thought, she's so rude. and she doesn't know that i know and then i thought, i'm going to have to say something to her. [laughter] but what? and i thought, i could be insulting, i could say i see you-up. ed over your food -- hunched over your food frumpily, but i don't mimic you. and i thought i could be, like con desending, i could say, you know it's not nice to grotesquely mime the way people older than you eat their soup. [laughter] and i thought, no, that's not right either. and suddenly i realized exactly what to do. i thought it's simple but devastating. i will catch her eye and silently do an impersonation of
someone eating soup disgustingly. i will -- [laughter] i will mimic her mimicking me. i should say all of this took place in the space of about one and a half seconds. i'm slowing it down like nichols and baker would. [laughter] not a word will pass between us, but she'll know she's been caught out. so now we're six feet apart and i'm suddenly feeling nervous about the whole thing because it's very combative and i'm not usually a combative person. but i thought, do it, jon. if you don't, you'll regret it. [laughter] so i did. my heart was pounding, but i made it look casual. i looked her in the eye, opened my mouth and began to rhythmically move my hand up and down, up and -- [laughter]
and i thought, this is withering. and she rooked startled -- she looked startled. and then i realized -- [laughter] i don't know if i should show you what it looked like. full disclosure. it was kind of -- kind of a proud, defiant look. and then i kind of went -- [laughter] so i i stared at the ground and hurried back to the table, and my wife said you look as white as a sheet, and i said can we get the bill? [laughter] so i think the moral of that story is that shame internalized leads to horror whereas shame let out leads to a funny story. [laughter] and also horror. [laughter] i i think and we we all have
something bubbling away in us that we're terrified would ruin us if it got out. maybe it's nothing horrendous, or maybe it is, but we're all walking around just terrified that we're going to be found out, the terror. i know a child who has intrusive thoughts, or had them when he was about 10 years old. he would be convinced, like holding a bottle of water, a thought would pop into his head i could throw that water at somebody i must be a terrible person. or i could shout out something racist i must be terrible. and these thoughts just stuck in his brain and hound -- and haunted him until he went to see a psychiatrist, and the psychiatrist said everybody has those thoughts. it's completely normal. everybody, they pop into your head and it's part of being human. it doesn't make you a bad person. and the minute this child heard that, the intrusive thoughts
just went away and he was never haunted by them again. because when you let these things out and when you share these things and when people treat you with compassion and kindness and empathy, that's what heals wounds. and the reason why i bring that up and the reason why i bring up my soup blow job story -- [laughter] is because i think in the early days of twitter that's kind of what it was like. it was kind of rather deshaming it was like a garden of eden. there was a praise back then twitter -- facebook is where you lie to your friends twitter is where you tell truth to strangers. and on twitter people would admit, they'd hesitantly anytime these kind of hitherto shameful secrets. and other people would say my god, i'm exactly the same. that was the place of radical deshaming. and then it all blew up in our faces. and i think i'm going to try to
tell the story of why that happened. so i've spent last three years on a journey into the world of american shame. i've been to the houses of people who were destroyed by nice people like us on twitter, people who haven't left their homes for, like, a year and a half, depressed and traumatized and waking up in the middle of the night forgetting who they were, and i've been to the homes of the shameless and the shamed, just trying to make sense of what's become of us. and i think it started things started really well, you know? suddenly with social media the silence had a voice. we found that it was an eloquent voice. people were being sunny and you would chat with likeminded strangers, and everyone was deshaming each other. and then when the powerful transgressed, we suddenly realized we could do something about it. so if a right-wing columnist wrote a racist or a homophobic column, we could hurt them with
the weapon they didn't understand, a social media shaming. and i was part of all of these shamings these righteous shamings. in fact, i led the shaming at that time. when the sunday times and "vanity fair" columnist a.a. gill had written a column about how he'd shot a baboon on safari because, like all of us, he wondered what it would be like to shoot a person. so i was the first person to alert twitter to this -- [laughter] primarily because a.a. gill always gives my television documentaries bad reviews. [laughter] i also, by the way, in my book about psychopaths i gave him the psychopath because wanted to shoot a baa boo on -- baboon on safari because you wondered what it would be like to shoot a human is classic psychopath. [laughter] actually, i bumped into a. a. gill hat an award -- at ap award
ceremony, and he came bounding up to me and said i would never sue another journalist -- because he'd heard i was in -- he was in my book. i said, it's not all of us, it's not a normal thing to think, it's just you. [laughter] so he said well, you don't hunt, so you wouldn't understand. so i said, i sell more books than you do. [laughter] so i won. [laughter] so we were attacking people who were misusing their privilege and i think we fell in love with it so much that a day without a shaming felt like a day picking fingernails and treading water. it began to feel like we had an empty in our lives when there wasn't anybody to shame. and so we started i think attacking people who were only misusing their privilege if you
really half closed your eyes. and into that rather explosive atmosphere walked an unsuspecting woman called justine sacco. i'm going to tell the justine sacco story. so she was a new york city pr woman with 170 twitter followers, and she was going from new york through london to capetown and she was tweeting little acerbic jokes to her twitter followers like that one. and then, you know, she would chuckle to herself and press send and got no replies and felt that sad feeling that we all feel when the internet doesn't congratulate us for being funny. [laughter] and then she got to heathrow and came up with another acerbic little joke and tweeted it to 170 twitter followers.
so right now if you were to put just teen sacco on a scale of terribleness between 1-10, what would you give her? i'll take that as a 10. [laughter] that suits my narrative arc. [laughter] most people would give her a 10. i think you're going to be feeling differently about her soon. she never got any replies and she felt a little bit sad about that and turned off her phone and fell asleep and woke up in capetown and stretched and turned on her phone and straight away there was a text from somebody she hadn't spoken to since high school, and the text said, "i am so sorry to see what's happening to you." and she looked at it baffled and then her best friend texted her and said you need to call me immediately, you are the worldwide number one trending topic on twitter right now.
so first there were the philanthropists, join me in supporting care's work in africa. i am donating to care today. then there was the beyond horrified. and beyond horrified. was everybody on twitter that night? and do you remember her tweet overwhelming your timeline? everybody was on twitter that night, including me. i was lying in belled, and that tweet overwhelmed my timeline, and i just thought what everybody thought which is, oh, wow, somebody's fucked. [laughter] and then i then i thought i'm not entirely sure that that tweet was intended to be racist. a tradition, as we know -- there's a tradition, as we know of people not gleefully flaunting their privilege. it was like, the most unbelievable gleeful flaunting of privilege of all time.
but there's a tradition of people mocking people who gleefully flaunt their privilege by tweeting that kind of thing. like south park or colbert. i think the difference between justine sacco and south park and colbert was that she really wasn't very good at it. she was very bad at it. and then the calls for her to be fired began. well spent, three exclamation marks. i think you know what was happening right at this point is that, you know we want to be like good people. we want to be antithetic people. we have cut down privilege. we've done that successfully many times in twitter, on twitter. we wanted to be -- we want to show everybody that we were compassionate people, we cared about people dying of aids in africa. in our desire to be empathetic
we were about to commit one of modern times' most un-empathetic acts. i think it was our desire to kind of be like rosa parks but there's a very big difference between what rosa parks did which was courageous, there's nothing courageous about sitting home destroying somebody while she sits on a plane. good luck with the job hunt in the new year, hashtag getting fired. the last tweet of your career, hashtag sorry not sorry. corporations joined in trying to sell their products. [laughter] someone, i'm actually kind of hoping justine sacco gets aids. justine was really igniting a
lot of disparate groups. [laughter] corporations lu to i'm donating to aid to africa through to i hope somebody hiv positive rapes this bitch, and then we'll find out if her skin color protects her from aids. nobody went after that person that night. our shaming campaigns on social media are so primitive that we can only handle destroying one person a night. [laughter] so that person got a completely free ride. in fact we can't handle destroying just teen sacco and also destroying the people who were destroying justine sacco. hope you get fired, you demented bitch. and then came a tweet from her employer, the company iac. employee in question currently unreachable on an international flight. and that's when the anger really turned to excitement.
all i want for christmas is to see justine successes acco's -- sacc's lane lands. oh man, she's going to have the most painful phone-turning-on moment when her plane lands. we're about to watch this justine sacco bitch get fired in realtime before she even knows she's being fired. how does it feel to be fired for christmas? the furor over her tweet had had become not just an ideological i crusade, but also a kind of idle entertainment. her complete ignorance of her predicament for those 11 hours led to dramatic irony and also a pleasing narrative arc. as her flight traversed the length of africa, a hashtag began to trend worldwide, hashtag has justine landed yet.
twitter users won't tell us exactly what flight she was on so everybody who wanted could watch its progress on a flight tracker web site. this is us doing this. it's kind of wild to see someone self-destruct without them even being aware of it. seriously, i just want to go home and go to bed but everyone at this bar is so into has justine landed yet. people were gathered around smartphones in bars. the best thing to happen to my friday night. [laughter] the moment in capetown to tweet her arrival. come on, twitter i'd like pictures. guess what? yep, justine sacco has, in fact, landed at capetown. and if you want to know what it looks like to discover that 100,000 people have just torn you apart while you were asleep and completely oblivious to it, this is what it looks like.
her friend frantically deleted her tweet, but it was far too late. as somebody tweeted back then sorry, justine sacco your tweet lives on forever. so i've managed to convince justine to talk to me which, believe me she really did not want to do but i convinced her to. i met her in a bar on 10th avenue and i asked her what the joke moment, and she said living in america puts us in a bit of a bubble when it comes to what is going on in the third world i was making fun of that bubble. she said she'd never talk to a journalist again, but she just needed to explain to people how crazy her situation was how her punishment just didn't fit the crime. she said i cried out my body weight in the first 4 hours. it was in-- 24 hours. it was incredibly traumatic. you don't sleep. you wake up in the middle of the
night forgetting where you are, who you are. she released an apology statement and cut short her vacation. workers were threatening to strike at the hotel she'd booked if she showed up. she was told nobody could guarantee her safety. as she told me all of this, she started to cry. i sat looking at her for a moment, but i started thinking of something to say to improve mood. so i said some things need to to reach a brutal medea before things make sense. she said wow, of all the things i could have been in society's collective consciousness it never struck me i'd end up like this. anyway, i stayed this touch with justine over the course of year. i discovered the man who had started the campaign against her, journalist called -- [inaudible] somebody who'd sent the tweet to him, and he'd sent it to his 15,000 followers and that's how it started. so i asked him how it felt, and he said it felt delicious.
and then i asked him how he imagined justine was. he said i'm sure she's fine. and i don't think he was being glib, i think this is what we all are like on social media. we want to destroy people, but we don't want to feel bad about it. so we either just call them a sociopath or say i'm sure they're fine or call them a racist and so on. anyway finally now, a year and a bit after it happened, she's beginning to get back on her feet. she's got a new job which she likes, and my book has come out and finally people are saying to her, you know, i can't believe what we did to you. actually, nobody is saying to her i can't believe what we did to you. [laughter] what people are saying to her is i can't believe what those people did to you. [laughter] like they weren't the people who were doing it. and, you know there's nothing more traumatizing, i think than being cast out by tens of thousands of good people into
the world and told you are worthless and you need to get out. that's worse, actually i think, than being attacked, you know by trolls, by kind of a stupid, outrageous minority. if you're attacked by trolls, you have a support group. when you're attacked by all of us justine had nobody. nobody was supporting her. but this piece, you know, my book and her story has kind of brought her back in now and i think people understand she was wronged. and i think the cure for being destroyed, the cure for being shamed and cast out is to have people being empathetic toward you and kind and compassionate, and now justine is back op her feet because of that -- is back on her feet because of that. how long did i just talk for? 25 minutes, so that's good, right? thank you. [applause] before we finish actually, can i just end by just telling you this really, really quick five minute story? because i don't want to end -- you know, i want to remind people just how wonderful we can be on social media.
and i was in a band, let me tell this story very quickly. i was in a band in the 1980s, i was the keyboard player. it's what i co-wrote the film "frank" about. here i am. in fact, it's one of the big fake hats which he never took off. and it was just glorious three years. nothing makes a young man feel more alive and on an adventure than cruising down the motorway at 2:00 in the morning next to a man wearing a big fake head. [laughter] if you want to know what frank's act was like, it was like. this -- it was like this. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
♪ ♪ [applause] [laughter] >> it hasn't lost any of its magic. [laughter] newway, i lost touch -- anyway, i lost touch with him. he fired me after three years for tax reasons, and i lost touch with him for 15 years and suddenly out of the blue he telephoned me and said he was staging a comeback and could i help him with the comeback. so i said, you know, of course. and he said he's having some publicity shots done, and time hadn't ravaged him. he looked exactly the same. [laughter] and i was inspired by getting back in touch with him to write this film "frank." so after three or four years of writing it one day i went on to twitter, and frank sidebottom's name was trending on twitter. i thought, you know why? so i clicked on it and it said frank sidebottom dead. and i thought, well, why would
chris -- who was the person behind frank, would kill off frank, and i realized he was actually dead. he had died at 51 of throat cancer. and, in fact, just before he died he posted onto twitter a photograph of himself having undergone chemotherapy. [laughter] and anyway, the next day, the next day there was an article in the newspaper saying that he had died penniless and was going to be buried in a poor perp's grave, and i thought what does that mean? like a journey back in time 200 years? so i said on twitter, that's a few thousand pounds he could be spared. by the end of the day, over a thousand people had donated 21,000 pounds which was more than enough to bury and exhume and rebury him half a dozen
times. [laughter] and then somebody else on twitter started a fundraising campaign for a show like frank sidebottom cast in bronze to be up at his village. and he sent me, you know and again on social media we raised the money for this. it was a wonderful thing kindness of strangers. the opposite of what we did to justine. and the guy sent me photographs of the frank sidebottom statue on its way from the czech republic to manchester, and in the photograph frank looked like he'd been disturbingly kidnapped but was find with it. [laughter] but was fine with it. and then the unveiling. and so that is what we can do on social media when we use our power for good. thank you very much indeed. [applause]
does anybody have any questions? i hope so. hi. >> hi. so your book -- [inaudible] which will bring it to a wider audience. i'm wondering what you think given the bowed of criticism -- the body of criticism you have received -- [inaudible] the field of psychological research -- [inaudible] >> thank you -- [inaudible] [laughter] >> the psychopath is very much a book about confirmation bias. it's about me getting drunk with my psychopath-spotting powers. i -- [inaudible] run by robert -- [inaudible] and i go crazy with my
psychopath-spotting powers. and robert hess said to me that effectively what happened to you, you know, the way you've got drunk with power is exactly what happens when lot of people go to my course. it's like i can't control what people do with this. people get the same certificate you've got go off and have enormous power over people's lives. so they will go to these civil commitment centers where people who have committed sex crimes will get sent after they've done their time in prison, and they're sent to these civil commitment centers, you know for the rest of their lives. and people are making these judgments based on three days doing a psychopath-spotting course where, you know, where people were just kind of doodling and picking their fingers. so it's a really, really serious issue. robert herrs has created something as scientific as psychology can ever be, this really valuable tool, and it's
being misused. and i wrote a book that made fun of myself misusing it. and then in the second half of the book it becomes i think quite a serious study about our tendency to overlabel people and overdiagnose people. this kind of fetish we have for reducing people to their modest edges. we love to label people we don't like as insane. that's one of our favorite things to do. children as young as 4 in america are being labeled with bipolar because they present with temper tantrums on a given antipsychotic medications, and children die as a result of this. so my book is not intended to be a kind of how-to guy to spot psychopaths, it's quite clearly a cautionary tale about confirmation bias which is a huge problem in psychiatry and psychology. so that's the purpose of my book. if you want to, you know, learn how to identify psychopaths, you should rate robert herr's book "without conscious,"
particularly. my book is different than that. the people who were adapting the movie, kristin gore and jay roach who are adapting the book into a movie, are really really smarter people and understand the nuances of my book. and i think they're going to do a beautiful job. thank you. hi. >> hi. um so in the face of reading, you know a public shaming on twitter, do you recommend kind of like maybe turning around and saying, you know, relax a little bit, leave the person alone. have that -- have you seen any examples of that with a backlash to it? >> yes. and it ends up really badly. [laughter] >> i'm glad i asked. >> yeah. the woman called helen lewis who writes a really great feminist writer in britain writes for the new statesman said she was
on twitter night of the justine sacco incident and she said i'm not sure this joke was intended to be racist. and she said immediately she got, like a wave of people saying you're just a privileged white bitch as well, so to her shame, she shut up, she didn't say anything even though she knew she could have defended justine sacco. when my piece came out, by book was excerpted in "the new york times", and of the people -- like 90% of the people were like, you know, loved it. you're so compassionate, and this is the right way to be talking about justine sacco, but i suddennenly got this kind of --ed -- suddenly got this kind of attack of a couple of hundred people along the lines of what race is jon ronson going to put his cape on for next. and i didn't reply to any of them. i didn't reply -- let me just finish this. i didn't reply to any of them because you know that if you reply to anybody, you know, when you're in the eye of the
hurricane, anything you say is just more evidence for the prosecution. so i just stayed completely silent. my favorite one of that couple of days was somebody said why isn't jon ronson replying to my of us, and somebody else wrote because jon ronson only replies to men. [laughter] i thought, i am, like i am like a unux from "game of thrones." hi. >> yes. i was wondering, you said she was a pr person? and i guess maybe i'm not saying that she did this willfully but knowing how sometimes you can make a person to, you can make a comment to a person one-on-one and they understand because they know you personally maybe she might have just been cautious enough not to have -- >> the question is -- >> [inaudible] kept it for after she got back or maybe with some friends that she knew and who knew her.
i mean, she's a pr person, she knows what twitter and media can do can. >> yeah, i mean -- >> i didn't know how could this have happened? >> yeah. no, i totally understand what you're saying, and it's, you know, the question if anybody didn't hear it, you know she's a pr person, she should have known better, she should have known the power of twitter. i totally get that but, remember she only had 170 twitter followers. when "the new york times" fact checker phoned her up to fact check my extract, she said to justine, so were you surprised when no nobody repriced? she -- replied? she said is, nobody ever replied. [laughter] so, you know i think justine's story actually is a moment when a lot of things i think collided all at once. and one of, you know the image i have in my head when i think of justine's story and some of the other people in my book is the image of a baby crawling towards a gun, you know? we to not know -- we do not know
the power of this weapon. and so i honestly think justine -- i totally know what you're saying, and she was in pr, and she should have known better but i think she could be forgiven -- >> oh, i wasn't saying she couldn't be forgiven i'm just saying i don't understand why it didn't occur to her that this might not be the best move to make. [laughter] >> definitely didn't turn out to be the best move. you know i think within her small social circle people would have understood the nuance. >> talking to them one-on-one. [inaudible] >> but nuance and context get thrown out the window with twitter. hi. >> one of the really fascinating things about your book which i loved, i thought it was extraordinary, you talk a a lot about the difference in the way women are received as opposed to men and the incredible misogyny, and that's not just, obviously, on twitter that's on the internet generally. there was the whole incident with the gamers and the women
who had to go into hiding so it goes beyond even just getting fired, you know, the rape threats and people started going -- so i wonder if you could talk about that because all of your -- you address that, but we never really find out why or if any men get caught. because jonah lar and mike daisy don't get anything like what justine sacco and some of the other people and people that we've all seen like since then. so -- >> it's unbelievable. the amount of misogyny. i've got to say it took me hugely by surprise the kind of huge amount of misogyny that there is out there. when men are shamed, they get like, i'm going to get you fired. when women are shamed, it's i'm going to get you fired, i'm going to rape you, i'm going to cut out your uterus, and i'm going to kill you. women get, like, so much worse. a woman called mercedes who's a kind of troll explained it to me that we think of the worst thing that we can do to somebody and
shout for that thing to happen. we try and degrade them. so the worst thing that we can think of happening to a man is getting them fired. but the worst thing we can think of happening to a woman is her getting raped. so that was the way that she compared the difference in trolling. very quickly tell the -- >> the difference in what happened to her and what happened to him. >> unbelievable. just carnage all the way around. this is really a story about a toddler crawling towards the gun. so two men in the crowd at a tech concerns whisper a misogynistic joke to each other something about big dongings you know, some type of joke. so woman sitting in front turns around to take a paragraph and they think she's taking a photograph of the crowd, so they just look forward trying not to mess up her shot. then ten minutes later they're called into an office and said there have been complaints about sexual language.
and they say i know exactly what happened, i'm really sorry, and that was it. the incident was over. but then they were nerdy, so they left the conference early because they didn't like confrontation. on the way to the airport they wondered how the woman in front communicated her complaint to the conference organizers. so they went from twitter and realized it had been in the form of a public tweet like a photograph of the two men with not cool jokes about big dongles right behind me. so the next day they were fired. you know some of people have come out worse most of the people in my book come out very well but employers don't come out well because people are terrified of us, you know? we're powerful ones now. it's like, you know, if social media decides somebody is fired that person is fired. it takes a brave employer, indeed, to stand up to social media because we are so terrifying. so kudos to comedy central to
speaking -- for sticking up the last couple of days. that does not happen up because we are terrifying. we're firing you because social media said so. so hank posted a message on happy news saying, you know, i'm sorry for what i did, but as a result of her actions, i was let go from my job today. she smiled and sealed my fate. and so for the next, you know until today for the next two years, adrea was subjected to the most horrifying rape threats and death threats, and she had to move house, and she was fired from her job. and hank got another job right away. in, by the way, a company where there were no female developers. [laughter] i said to him -- [inaudible] well there aren't any female developers in the place i'm working. she still hasn't gotten a new
job two years later. hi. two hands went up at once which which always kind of overwhelms me. i'd make a terrible sofie in sofie's choice. [laughter] oh i'll kill both my children. i'll take your question first. [laughter] >> one thing i wonder with the justine sacco story is how many people really read her tweet and thought she's horrible, she's racist, and how many people had a suspicion that it was a joke but ignored it and just went with the crowd. >> yeah, went for her anyway. my guess is that a lot of people understood the nuance of that joke but decided to destroy her anyway. partly because it was fun, you know, the best thing that happened to my friday night in years. partly because twitter is like this kind of mutual approval machine. it's like we surround ourselves with people who feel the same way we do and we disprove each other. it's what my friend the
documentary maker, calls it mutual grooming, i don't know? we're just grooming each other. and so, you know, if we're all tearing apart justine sacco we all carry on doing can it because we're just approving each other. dates are being passed around in a popularity contest. and we don't want to think about it. you know, we don't want to think about her destruction because the snowflake, you know, doesn't want to feel responsible for the avalanche or drone strike operator doesn't want to feel responsible for the smashed-up village. and, yeah. hi. >> so publishing isn't like a new thing -- [inaudible] how do you think that publishing nowadays on the internet and facebook and twitter and even -- [inaudible] compares to, you know being tarred and feathered and ran out of town? something like that? >> right. i think a lot of people here would probably think the way that i thought which is the way public shaming died out as a punishment in, it turns out, the
1830s is because it lost its power to shame, you know? when villages became cities, people could just lose themselves in the crowd, so i assumed that was the reason why public punishment died out. so i spent some time at the massachusetts archives. really excited me looking at the very earliest court documents of america. turns out, by the way, for the first hundred years in america all that happened was people named nathaniel purchased land near rivers. [laughter] but i was beginning to grow unprofessionally through the microfilm -- [inaudible] at point. and i discovered countless entreaties by the great thinkers of the 17th, 18th and 19th century to stop public punishments because they were so brutal. i found court documents of a woman named abigail gilpin who was going to be whipped 40 times for adultery and she was pleading with the judge not
don't whip me, but don't whip me in public. please let me have my whipping before the public wakes up. i read sermons saying, you know stop being so exuberant, you know? this is monstrous. and finally, it seemed to die out because people had begun to believe that, you know, we lost our minds in a crowd. i found reviews of whippings where like it was like a bad critique because the whipper hadn't whipped hard enough. and so, you know, we have brought back on social media -- and this is very real, you know? this is damaging our children -- we brought something back that was considered brutal in the 18th century. i gave a talk in london a couple of weeks ago, and a woman signed up to me and said she was a child therapist and she said pretty much every child who comes to her these days damaged
is damaged because of something that happened on social media. everybody gets upset about the nsa spying on us. you know, i don't think the nsa are going to cause us any trouble. i think the surveillance society that we really need to be worried about is the one that we have created for each other. so what i wanted to do with this book was go on a journey where i would meet these people hiding us in houses, the shamed and get inside their heads and try and work out why we are doing to our fellow human beings the thing that we are most terrified might happen to us. hi. >> hi. do you see any difference between the public shame and social media between europe and the u.s.? >> do i see any difference between europe and the u.s.? you know the u.s -- i enmean, i live here now -- i mean, i live here now and love it, my caveat. [laughter] i think i've noticed i mean this is anecdotal, but i've noticed the american justice system in general and public
shaming too people are a little bit less forgiving here i think. there's the concept of reentry even though so built into the american mythology is the idea of redemption and, you know final acts and everybody getting a is -- a second chance. it's kind of hard to -- harder here, i think, for people to be redeemed a little bit. you see that happening in the official justice system. i think you see it happening a little bit on social media too. i'm not giving europe an easy wide. my god the brits destroy too. you know, we all do. yeah. you know, but if you're really serious, you know, i spent some time in this book in maximum security prisons in places where people are trying to be given their dignity back. i spent quite a lot of time in a contractional facility in new jersey. correctional facility in new jersey.
and ask any prison psychiatrist who spent their lives trying to figure out why some kill and it's actually the opposite of what you hear in my book the psychopath test. some people believe they're born that way. when -- i met this amazing psychiatrist could james gill began who spent his life in massachusetts high security prisons, and he said every single murderer he has ever come across had a secret, and the secret was that they felt chronically ashamed and that shame was what motivated them to kill. they had, you know the most terrible childhoods where they just were beaten and abused and insulted by their parents and all violence gilligan said, is an attempt to replace shame with self-esteem. when gilligan tried to implement educational programs in massachusetts prisons to give people back their self-esteem --
what could be more deshaming than state governor -- the state governor banned them because he said people are going to commit crimes just so they can go to prison for a free education. [laughter] so that was the end of the deshaming program. be we're serious about -- if we're serious about wanting to make the world a better place, seriously, on social media and in prisons and just in life what you want to do is replace cold hard judgment and shaming you replace are it with empathy and compassion and kindness. [applause] and also an understanding that we are all human beings, we're all -- we are not the worst tweet we ever wrote. we're a mixture of wisdom and stupid by. on that note, do you think we should finish? that sounded like a kind of good -- [laughter] you know?
not often i end up with a bit of wisdom to end a talk with. [laughter] well look, thank you very much indeed. i'll be signing books. [laughter] thank you. [applause] >> i'd like to thank all of you again for coming. we have books for sale at the register right back there. if you'd like your copy signed please just line up along this wall to my left. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> thank you. [applause] [inaudible conversations] >> every weekend booktv offers programming focused on
nonfiction authors and books. keep watching more more here on c-span2 and watch any of our past programs online at booktv.org. >> here's a look at some upcoming book fairs and festivals happening around the country. the san antonio book festival took place yesterday. look for some of this festival's programs to air on booktv in the coming weeks. next on april 18th and 19th book tv will be live from the university of southern california for the 20th annual los angeles times festival of books. our full schedule of coverage for the weekend is available on our web site, booktv.org. then on april 25th, the annapolis book festival will be hosted by the key school in annapolis, maryland. booktv will be covering this festival as well. and the city of gaithersburg maryland, will host the fifth annual gaithersburg book festival on may 16th and you'll see it live on booktv that day.
let us know about book fairs and festivals in your area, and we'll add them to our list. e-mail us a at firstname.lastname@example.org. >> you're a member of the football crisis inquiry -- financial crisis inquiry commission which was investigating the causes of the '07-'08 financial crisis. you dissented not only from the democrats on the committee, but also from the republican appointees. what did you see that they didn't? >> guest: well, i had been looking at the housing system in the united states and dodd-frank and -- well, i'm sorry, fannie mae and freddie mac for quite a while before i got on the commission. so i had quite a lot of background about what has actually been happening in the housing sector. so i was looking for the commission to look into what happened with fannie mae and freddie mac, what role they might have played in the housing crisis and ultimately, the financial crisis. and i found that the commission was not interested in that, and
day they wouldn't look at it. to the degree that i tried to interest them, i was just told that -- i was given all kinds of signals that that was not something they were going to do. so i decided that i would, i would dissent. now, my differences with the other republicans, i think, came from the fact that my view was that our responsibility on commission was to make sure that the american people understood what happened in the crisis that i was outside -- i thought -- the partisan differences between the republicans and the democrats. i'm afraid the republicans felt that they would not agree with anything the democrats said, and they didn't want to -- they didn't want to indict the bush administration. some of them actually had been in the bush administration. so i, i felt that i had to speak with an independent voice and that's why i dissent. >> host: you wrote a lengthy dissent for that commission and
in the late stages of that inquiry that, of course grew into your book, and you have a lot of unconventional views in this book which we'll get into. but for people who aren't understanding, this really focuses on the housing and mortgage markets in the united states and the government's role in it. when and why did the u.s. government get so heavily involved in the housing market? >> guest: well, actually it began in the new deal can back in the '30s when the government attempted to assist banks in making loans by guaranteeing those loans insuring those loans. and then fannie mae was established in late 1938 also part of the new deal, to provide liquidity to banks when they made a mortgage. they could then sell the mortgage to fannie mae, get liquidity for that mortgage and then make more mortgages so it was all very helpful in inducing more home sales in the united states. that was the beginning. the government really got much more involved in the '50s when
they actually started adjusting the fha's, the federal housing administration's standards in order to improve housing in the united states or increase the amount of housing sold in the united states in a desire to help the economy. that's when we sort of got off the rails. because once government started using housing as a way to improve the economy, in other words, to improve the american people's view of their government and how successful it is then it became a political issue instead of what it had been before which was simply a question of making sure that the market functioned well. >> you can watch this and other programs online at booktv.org. >> were you a fan of c-span's "first ladies" series? "first ladies" is now a book published by public affairs looking inside the personal life of every first lady in american
history. based on original interviews with more than 50 preeminent historians and biographers lesh details of all -- learn details of all 45 first ladies that made these women who they were. the book, "first ladies: presidential historians on the lives of 45 iconic american women," provides lively stories of these fascinating women who survived the scrutiny of the white house sometimes at great personal cost while supporting their families and famous husbands, and even changed history. c-span's "first ladies" is an illuminating, entertaining and inspiring read and is now available as a hard cover or an,-book through your favorite bookstore or online bookseller. >> on april 7th kentucky senator rand paul announced his 2016 campaign for president. here are some of the books that the senator has recommended on his senate web site according to bloomberg news.
starting the list is friedrich high yak's "the road to serfdom" which traces the development of fascism and naziism in europe leading up to the second world war. another is "the conscience of a conservative" by barry goldwater in which the former presidential candidate argues for conservative principles in light of the cold war and the new deal. senator paul also recommends ludwig von meese's treatise on economics titled "human action." ayn rand's novel, "atlas shrugged," is also on the book followed by three books by former congressman ron paul the revolution, end the fed and the foreign policy of freedom. next is thomas woods jr.'s examination of the 2008 financial crisis in "meltdown." and robert murphy's the politically incorrect guide to the depression and the new deal. also on senate rand paul's list,
"broke: the plan to restore our trust, truth and treasure." finally on senator paul's list of recommended reading are a few books regarding u.s. foreign policy which include "the new american mill terrific," "blowback," "imperial hubris," patrick buchanan's "where the right went wrong," and "silent night" by stanley weintraub. >> tonight on "q&a," senior editor for the weekly standard andrew ferguson on his writing career, the gop presidential candidates for 2016 and what voters are looking for in a candidate. >> guest: they want somebody who looks like he's stood up for them. i'm amazed now to the degree to which primary voters on both sides are motivated by resentment. and the sense of being put upon.
and, you know those people really don't understand us. and here's a guy who does understand us, and he's going to stick it to 'em. and that happens on both sides. hillary clinton will give her own version of that kind of thing. and i don't think that that was actually true 30 years ago. i mean resentment has always been part of politics obviously, but the degree to which it's almost exclusively the motivating factor in truly committed republicans and democrats. >> tonight at eight eastern and pacific on c-span2's "q&a." >> next weekend on booktv we're live from the 20th annual los angeles times festival of books. our coverage starts at 1:30 p.m. eastern, 10:30 a.m. pacific on saturday and 2 p.m. eastern 11 a.m. pacific on sunday. watch all weekend long for event coverage and call-ins featuring books on journalism, world war2,
climate change the 2016 election and more. check facebook and twitter for more information in the coming week and keep an eye on our web site for a complete schedule. booktv, live from the los angeles times festival of books on april 18th and 19th. >> booktv continues now with susan butler. she explores the relationship between president franklin delano roosevelt and the soviet union's josef stalin. >> so susan butler grew up in new york and received her ma from columbia university. her articles have appeared in "the new york times" and in barron's, she is also the author of "east to the down -- to the dawn," and editor of "my dear mr. stalin." and she currently lives in lake wales, florida. now, i started working with sue over a decade ago when she was working on her first fdr and stalin book, and as i was
chatting at dinner with her i reminded her that we really bonded over trying to figure out the map room time coding system because when she was doing her book of fdr and stalin correspondence, she was committed and dedicated to making sure she knew the order of when messages left the map room when they were received, and did stalin and roosevelt see them or did they cross before they responded to each other. so that's how sue and i bonded many, many years ago in the archives. ..